School districts tackle calendar revisions

Inclement weather resulted in a record number of missed days

Students in the Camas and Washougal School districts have missed an unprecedented number of instructional days due to inclement weather in December and January.
Both districts are working toward a solution.
Camas officials will be applying to the State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for a waiver of some emergency closure school days.
Camas students have missed nine days of school, while Washougal has totalled 10.
The Camas School District sent an email to all parents on Wednesday, Jan. 18, detailing the plan.
“In an effort to mitigate makeup days that extend the school year through the end of June, we have developed creative solutions to recapture lost instructional time,” it stated. “The plan balances the impact by adding instructional hours into existing school days with recaptured late start and early release time and adds days to the school year.”
With anticipated waivers, it allows for two additional inclement weather school closure days, if needed. However, additional early release/late start hours may be added back to the calendar.
“If we exceed two additional closure days, we will need to revisit our plan and potentially add more days to the end of the school year,” the email stated.
The Jan. 30 non-attendance day will now be a regular student attendance day. Wednesday elementary school early release days of Feb. 1 and 15, and March 1 and 15, are now full days.
Middle and high school late starts of Feb. 8 and 9, March 1 and 2, have been canceled.
The last day of school will be Monday, June 26, which will be a full day.
Spring break, April 3 to 7, will not be canceled. Officials are planning to keep high school graduation dates of Friday, June 16 for CHS and Saturday, June 17 for Hayes Freedom, the same.
“Moving these dates is problematic for students who are reporting to college or for service, not to mention the impact to families who have been planning for graduation since dates were announced,” the release stated. “We may need to offer some Saturday options for seniors to maintain these dates. We will communicate directly with senior students and their families if those options become a reality.”
Washougal School District Superintendent Mike Stromme has been in contact with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction regarding the waiver on school days missed.
Although a waiver is a possibility, it depends on a number of variables that are being reviewed by school principals, according to a post on the district’s Facebook page.
Additionally, the district must review options with both certificated and classified employee groups.
“The Washougal School District will use make-up days in our current school year calendar, previously identified when the 2016-17 calendar was built last school year,” he said.
Those days are Monday, Feb. 6 and Friday, May 26.
“Additionally, we do intend to apply for a waiver later this winter and early spring when we are through the inclement weather,” Stromme said. “The waiver request does have the potential to provide relief from some of the days the district must make up due to school closures. This will depend on the number of additional instructional hours we may be able to accrue over the second half of the school year to offset some of the additional days lost to closure.”
He added that the current plan is to work through the options as quickly as practical, but this will depend on any future closures.
“Regarding high school graduation dates, these are being reviewed with the high school administrative team,” Stromme said.
OSPI has advised school districts not to make an application for the waiver until the middle or end of March, due to the possibility of more inclement weather. OSPI considers granting approval of waiver requests on a case-by-case basis, as per WAC 392-129-125.